|National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang, second from left, visits the Samsung SDI plant located near Budapest, Hungary, Saturday (local time), to encourage executives and staff there. Courtesy of National Assembly|
By Jung Da-min
National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang visited Samsung SDI's electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Goed, Hungary, about 30 kilometers north of Budapest, to encourage executives and staff there, Saturday (local time).
Moon was visiting the country from Friday to Saturday, as a part of his official visits to Slovakia, Hungary and Kazakhstan from Sept. 18 to 25.
"The brand of Samsung itself has a global image (of South Korea)," Moon said. "Samsung and South Korea are increasing their global statuses together."
The EV plant near Budapest has been expanding its presence in the Hungary market, after Samsung SDI opened the plant last year. It is one of the three parts of the company's global EV battery production "tripod" along with plants in Ulsan, South Korea, and Xian, China.
Established in 2001, Samsung SDI's Hungary plant had earlier produced Braun tubes from 2002 to 2007 and plasma display panels (PDPs) from 2007 to 2014. After four years, it has newly opened as one equipped with the company's state-of-art technology to produce high-power and high-efficiency EV batteries for 50,000 EVs annually.
The batteries produced by the company are provided for European carmakers such as BMW and Audi.
About 65 percent of the 2,400 workers there are Hungarian, according to the company.
Samsung SDI is seeking further expansions of the Hungary plant, with its investment in it set to reach 800 million Euro ($881 million), creating about 1,500 jobs in the process.
Battery manufacturing is an important sector for Hungary's electronics industry, as the country hosts three Asian battery makers including SK Innovation and Samsung SDI from South Korea and GS Yuasa from Japan.
South Korea's three car battery makers including Samsung SDI, SK Innovation and LG Chem are seeking to increase their capacities in Europe building additional production lines to meet growing demand for EVs there.
Before visiting the plant, Moon earlier in the day visited the site of a tragic tour boat sinking accident in May that left 25 South Koreans and two Hungarians dead with one South Korean still missing. Hungarian National Assembly Speaker Laszlo Kover accompanied Moon. Moon also met Hungarian President Janos Ader, who expressed regrets over the accident and vowed full support for follow-up measures.